Booze Geek – Old Ruffian Barley Wine-Style Ale And The Goon

By Dylan Gonzalez

Beer: Old Ruffian Barley Wine-Style Ale

Brewery: Great Divide Brewing Co.

ABV: 10.2%

user2809_72409I returned to the mountains of Colorado for this week's edition of Booze Geek. Though, considering the name of the brew, I probably would not have made it far up said mountain and just gotten my butt kicked at one of the local pubs. But more on that later.

The Old Ruffian, a barley wine-style ale, was a deep mahogany red and poured a small but quickly dissipating head. It did leave a very thick rim of lacing around the nose of the glass. There was some visible carbonation bubbling up from the bottom. The beer gave off a predominantly hoppy and sweet malty scent.

I was impressed by the complexity of the Old Ruffian's flavor. It started out very hoppy, almost like an IPA with the bitterness. From there it moved into a malty body, with a slight sweetness to it. In the finish, I detected some roasted butterscotch mixing in with bitter hops. The bitterness of the beer made it a slow sipper for me. I felt a good amount of carbonation on my tongue and felt thick.

Overall, I was expecting more sweetness out of this beer for being a barley wine ale, but regardless it was a quality brew.

What to Drink This To:

hard timeWhen I first started getting into comics heavily, one of the first titles I checked out was Eric Powell's The Goon. I think the first trade I read immediately hooked me. The combination of horror, unabashed (and oftentimes hilarious) violence and well-executed humor and wit really nailed it for me. I love Powell's style of art and he is easily one of the best artists when doing facial expressions. And The Goon himself is just an old ruffian, so, I found this beer to be a perfect pairing with this comic series.

Dylan Gonzalez happens to love beer and comic books and luckily found a place to write about both because he has no idea how to actually make money in the real world. He lives in a cave in New Jersey. Tweet him at @BeardedPickle, follow his own beer blog at or email him at

About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.

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